Life-saving drugs set to get cheaper
The cost of therapeutic drugs affecting the common man is all set to go down, with the government today prescribing monographs for 73 new drugs.
These monographs have been included in the latest edition of Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP), the official book on standards of identity, purity and strength for drugs that are imported, manufactured, stocked or exhibited for sale and distribution in India.
The significance of inclusion of any drug monograph into the IP is that the drug so included ceases to be patented. “Any drug that is listed in IP becomes a generic drug, which means more and more manufacturers can make it, thereby strengthening the supply chain. This brings down prices,” said a top official of the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission, which took three years to include the above mentioned 73 monographs into the IP. All these monographs will become effective from July 1.
Most of these drugs are lifesaving in nature. There are many lifestyle disease drugs in the newly enlisted monographs. “Among the new monographs are several anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive drugs mostly used in India,” said sources in the commission. The amended volume of IP was made official today by health secretary Naresh Dayal, who heads the commission. Among other additions to the new volume of IP are different therapeutic groups representing synthetic, herbals and biological drugs. “We have prescribed standards for eight herbal drugs used in different medicines; the rest are other therapeutic combinations affecting common people in India,” sources said.
Till now IP contained 1,200 drug monographs, the number now rising to 1,273. The health ministry, by 2009 end, proposes to include as “generic” most of the drugs affecting Indians. This will happen by having monographs for these drugs. The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission has already included monographs of 90 per cent of the drugs falling in India’s essential drug list. The rest, said sources, would soon be covered. The exercise of adding monographs to IP is important as it assures healthcare professionals, patients and consumers of the standards of drugs . The monographs prescribe test procedures to demonstrate that the drug in question complies with the standards laid down in the Pharmacopoeia.